Resident Evil: Retribution, the fifth installment of the film series based on the award-winning video game, can only be described as mind numbingly awful. To prove once again that too much of a good thing can be bad, writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson takes an awesome zombie story and sends it straight to hell. Not altogether a surprise, as he had a perfectly good storyline laid out for him by the video games. However, he decided to go in a different direction. Precisely the reason that this zombie flop has been a long time coming.
The movie follows Alice (Milla Jovovich) through the ever present if, somewhat predictable obstacles caused by the evil Umbrella Corporation. Alice, the consummate survivor finds herself in another Umbrella Corp. holding cell and must fight her way through various simulations of the T Virus biohazard set up by the Red Queen.
We first meet the Red Queen (voiced by Ave Merson-O’Brian) in the first Resident Evil movie but we haven’t seen much of her since. This time around, the Red Queen is completely homicidal and wants only to capture and, if necessary, kill Project Alice.
As Alice and Ada Wong (Bingbing Li), another former worker for the Umbrella Corporation fight their way through all of the Red Queens traps, the movie starts to feel more and more like a video game. Still, it can be agreed amongst all who have played and are fans of the Resident Evil games that although the core characters and the idea of a zombie apocalypse are the same, the movies have gone in a completely different direction. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, had Anderson created a new form of the psychological thriller. Instead, we get the old zombie-in-the-closet bit, too predictable to entertain.
Because the movies have progressed so fast into the zombie apocalypse and lack the original storyline of the video games, it seems as if Anderson might have tried to bring the movies full circle with the illusion of video game levels throughout the movie and a computer as an opponent. You’d think the idea of a Resident Evil movie that has the feel of a video game would appeal to fans. Quite the contrary, this movie left a lot to be desired although the actors played their parts flawlessly. Alice is still a breathtakingly awesome killing machine of whom, this time around, we get to see a different side. Wesker (Shawn Roberts) plays his role as the deceptive snake in the grass well. Even Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) does a great job in the portrayal of the mindless, brainwashed Umbrella worker. Still, the storyline was frail and lacked substance and it just seemed like a lot of the same old thing. Kill the zombies, escape Umbrella, happy ending-for now.
Still, this temporary euphoric cliffhanger is a bit different from the other movies. There is a surprise at the end that gives it a sense of finality, that Alice’s story might be coming to an end. But it hardly seems worth it to sit through the entire movie to get there. If this were a new Resident Evil video game, fans would love it. As for the movie, skip it. You won’t be missing much.